Ode to Work
Carry sunflowers with faces as big as both your hands.
Carry honey, the sweet connection of bee to bear.
Carry yellow crayons so you can draw
the sun, wobbling and bright, like a child.
Carry the yellow yolk leveling itself
in a glass bowl positioned for the promise of baking.
Trust warm-day yellow to carry your body
like a bustling of horns, with a disregard
for the center line—luminous
freedom evaporating damp doubt.
Be carried at dawn by a glinting lake clean of secrets.
And the rush of goldenrod clamoring,
at the garden gate will call
the goldfinch’s undulating flight
and wake you.
huddles around campfires
fueled by cannon wheels
and gnaws on their horses.
Sky stands pale,
icy Berezina River threads the landscape,
and a line of bodies
marches and dies.
has wasted 400,000.
The 18,000 that did not die in Russia
are left to this winter.
At night when the orange sky goes out,
clouds appear charred like Moscow
and the wolves come.
Sniffing the wind
fur the color of bare trees
in tight packs
yipping and yowling
and talking in yellow elation—
they feast on the unfrozen parts of men
the bellies and the bowels
before the snow makes a shroud.
They return to their warm dens
dutifully spew up Napoleon’s army
amid joyful whimpers and playful growls
of pregnant wives and sisters,
so these mothers can suckle
the wolves of 1813.
David Albano is a joyful dad because his children love stories and poetry and pizza as much as he does. He has taught literature in a variety of different places—from Malawi to the Navajo Nation—and to a variety of different students. His favorite place to teach is under a tarp in a thunderstorm on a canoe trip.